Road­war­rior

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODDRIVING -

WELL, you can laugh at me, cover me in de­ri­sion and show me up as what­ever, but I can’t seem to pick the win­ner.

Of the highly im­por­tant, world renowned, much feted ti­tle of Weekend Ar­gus Car of the Year, that is.

I, the only ca­pa­ble and knowl­edge­able judge in the whole of this of­fice, mainly be­cause I am the only one able to do the driv­ing im­pres­sions, have run into a con­di­tion known as judge’s block. It is sim­i­lar to writer’s block in that you find your­self in­ca­pable of mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

So my fi­nal de­ci­sion will be suit­ably rife with in­de­ci­sion – I crown the new Mercedes Benz CLA as the Weekend Ar­gus Car of the Year. And the Volvo V40 as the Weekend Ar­gus Car of the Year.

And the de­ci­sion is (not) made, based mainly on the most im­por­tant as­pect on which to judge a car – how much plea­sure I’ve had driv­ing it un­der var­i­ous road con­di­tions.

I must say I have had other very pleas­ant drives, so th­ese two earn (share) the crown by a rather nar­row mar­gin. Chrysler’s Jeep Wran­gler short wheel­base, for ex­am­ple, re­mains one of my favourites.

I know, it is a rather in­tan­gi­ble, emo­tional and sub­jec­tive as­pect on which to base such an im­por­tant de­ci­sion and, even­tu­ally, award.

But, as I al­ways say, if we could all af­ford it, we would all prob­a­bly be driv­ing around in the lat­est fash­ion­able su­per­car, so what the heck. As far as I am con­cerned, price should never be a se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion in this “con­test”. You may well then ask why a su­per­car would not win the crown ev­ery time. The an­swer is sim­ple – they of­ten do not give you the driv­ing plea­sure you need un­der ev­ery­day driv­ing con­di­tions. Even though the Fer­rari 458 Italia is as sweet as they come, it still is a wide and low car with lim­ited vis­i­bil­ity in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment com­pared to the cars I chose. And when its width, lack of ground clear­ance and lack of out­ward vis­i­bil­ity comes to haunt you, the drive turns into a night­mare. No, I’d rather not drive it un­less the drive is well planned.

But the two I chose would do well un­der most con­di­tions.

Mercedes Benz claims the CLA has es­tab­lished a new seg­ment as a new four-door coupé that fol­lows the idea of the CLS – with frame­less doors, the coupé adopts the de­sign of the Con­cept Style Coupé into se­ries pro­duc­tion.

“The CLA is a car that has stan­dard fea­tures usu­ally found in the lux­ury pre­mium seg­ment and af­firms that for Mercedes- Benz, safety is not a ques­tion of price,” said Flo­rian Sei­dler, vice-pres­i­dent, sales and mar­ket­ing for pas­sen­ger cars, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

“With world-lead­ing aero­dy­nam­ics (Cd = 0.22), avant-garde coupé de­sign, its de­sign un­der­scores the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz brand,” said Sei­dler.

And that was what first caught my eye. Here we had a sporty Mer-

MIGHTY: The Mercedes Benz CLA is a new cat­e­gory of car, the Ger­mans tell us. I don’t know so much about that, but what I do know is it is a mighty fine car.

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